Going Bonkers for ‘Lost In Yonkers’

Johnny Weber

GROSSMONT COLLEGE – The Theatre Arts Department premiered its spectacular production of Lost in Yonker, directed by Janette Thomas, on Thursday, May 3rd to a full house.  The production has its final performance Saturday evening, May 12.

Lost in Yonkers, written by Neil Simon, is from the vantage point of two teenage boys, Arty (Zachary Bunshaft) and Jay (Jacob Gardenswartz) whose mother recently died. Their father (Joel Gossett) has to go out in search for work to pay back his debts to a loan shark, so he drops them off to live with their iron-fisted, stone-cold grandmother (Kate Hewitt) their child like, absent-minded Aunt Bella (Layla Stuckey) and their smooth talking gangster Uncle Louie (Ryan Casselman).

Once again the cast produced a high-quality, laugh-filled performance that included soft emotional scenes with deep meaning. When Aunt Bella reveals that she is not as innocent as she seems, Grandma reacts indifferently, no longer capable of caring because of the loss of her two youngest children.

Uncle Louie helps Arty and Jay through the torture of Grandma’s harsh yet hilarious way of disciplining the.  Arty catches a fever and Grandma gives him the worst tasting soup that has ever been invented. Anyone who has had a grandma knows that even though grandma has some weird and wacky remedies, they always seem to work, and in Arty’s case, this is no exception. Jay has the misfortune of paying for pretzels and pistachios that have a weird habit of disappearing ever since the time that Father was a boy.

The theatre and stage were set up in a way that really felt like a window into the hearts, souls and minds of the characters.  Throughout breaks In the middle of the scenes, a “radio” would play that included big band jazz era hits such as “Perdido” and a 1940’s-style announcer would share news of the wars progress.

Every aspect of the production was put on by the students, from the set design, to the lighting, to costume design.  The set design was excellent. From the 1940’s style fan, to the dollies, to the fold-out couch with a flower-pattern design, the little details were not overlooked.

The costumes were period style, enhancing the performance.  From zoot-suited Uncle Louie, to the “self designed’ dress of Aunt Bella, and to the prim and proper suits of Arty and Jay, the costumes revealed a little bit of who these characters were.

It was a show to remember. From the laughs to the cries, and to everything in between, the cast of Lost In Yonkers put out a first-rate performance.

This is the last play of the season, but next season there will be a total of six productions, three in the fall and three in the spring. There are season tickets available for $50 for all of the plays. Some notable plays are The Grimmers, playing from Oct. 4-13, and The Odyssey: A Play. For more information click here or call Alexis Popko at 1-619-644-7267 for ticket information.

Weber is managing editor of the GC Summit.  He may be contacted at [email protected]